• Many studies show that young drivers under 18 years of age are more likely to be involved in a traffic accident during their first year of driving. These road accidents usually result from risk-taking behaviors and lack of driving experience. The Texas Graduated Drivers License (GDL) law was implemented to reduce the number of casualties that result from such accidents. The program divides the process of obtaining a full drivers license into a number of steps, each one gradually preparing the teenager for responsible and safe driving. The GDL law applies to all applicants under 18 years of age.

    Under the GDL program, the first step (Phase I) toward achieving a full drivers license is obtaining the instruction permit. The instruction permit can be awarded to applicants who are at least 15 years old, provided they have completed a drivers education course approved by the Texas DPS and passed a written knowledge examination. All permit holders are allowed to drive a motor vehicle if there is a licensed driver 21 years old or older present in the vehicle. The permit must be held for at least 6 months and the student must be at least 16 years old before he or she can apply for a provisional drivers license.

    The provisional drivers license (Phase II) allows unsupervised driving, but has the following restrictions:

    • The license holder is not allowed to operate a motor vehicle between the hours of midnight and 5:00 a.m. Exceptions are made in cases when the operation of the vehicle is necessary for the driver to attend or participate in employment or a school-related activity or because of a medical emergency.
    • The license holder may not operate a motor vehicle with more than one passenger in the vehicle who is under the age of 21 and not an immediate family member.
    • In addition, you may not operate a vehicle while using a wireless communication device, such as a cell phone.

    If these limitations are observed during the six-month period following the provisional license issuance, the student may visit a DMV office and have these restrictions removed. Convictions of traffic offences or failure to observe the above requirements may result in provisional license suspension or revocation.

    You can find out more about Texas Graduated Drivers License laws online or visit DriversEd.com's detailed drivers license instructions for Texas residents.

    Note: This article was accurate when it was published. Please confirm all details directly with the TX DPS. You can visit the TX DPS website or call 1-512- 424-2600 for the drivers license customer service.

  • Make Your Trip to the DPS Less Painful

    A trip to the DPS can feel stressful without planning ahead. So, before you run out the door. We’ve gathered a few tips to make your trip to the Department of Public Safety a little less agonizing.

    Just Don’t Go - Do it Online

    Did you know the Texas DPS offers certain services online? You can:

    • Renew an expired drivers license or identification card.
    • Replace a lost or stolen drivers license or identification card.
    • Change your address on your drivers license or identification card.

    If you need one of these services, try doing it online first. Go HERE.

    See how it works:

    Cut in Line, Legally

    At certain DPS locations, you can electronically get in line through a service called Get In Line Online. GILO allows you to:

    • Apply for a first-time drivers license, learners permit, or ID card.
    • Take the written test or computer test (if you’re worried about the test, try a practice test).
    • Renew an expired drivers license or identification card.
    • Replace a lost or stolen drivers license or identification card.
    • Change your address on your drivers license or identification card.

    Just schedule an appointment online. The DPS will send you an SMS text notification of your appointment time. Go to work, attend a class, run errands, or watch a movie until your approved appointment time.

    Get In Line Online isn’t offered everywhere. Learn if your DPS location offers it HERE.

    See how it works:

    Avoid the Rush

    If online help isn’t available for your DPS office or you have a complicated transaction, your best option is to avoid certain times and days:

    • Avoid Mondays and Fridays. In general, Mondays and Fridays tend to be busier than other days.
    • Avoid lunchtime. A lot of optimistic folks brave the DPS at lunch thinking they’ll get through the line quickly. They usually don’t.
    • Avoid the day before or after a holiday. The DPS isn’t open on holidays. All those customers not getting serviced spill over to other days.

    DriversEd.com is a privately held company and is in no way associated with the Department of Motor Vehicles, any other government agency, or the driving schools listed in this website. All external hyperlinks are provided for your information and for the benefit of the general public. DriversEd.com does not testify to, sponsor or endorse the accuracy of the information provided on externally linked pages.